Barney, Bob the Builder head to theaters

Screenvision, HIT team for pre-schoolers programs

NEW YORK -- Barney, Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine are coming to movie theaters.

Cinema advertising firm Screenvision is partnering with kids entertainment firm HIT Entertainment to bring programming for pre-schoolers to more than 100 theatres through Screenvision's HD digital network late this year and throughout 2010.

The deal is part of Screenvision Programming Services, launched in 2007, that works with exhibitors to attract additional audiences during off-peak times.

The first event, "Barney: Jungle Friends," premiered on Oct. 10, the firms said Wednesday.

Also planned: "Thomas & Friends: Splish Splash, Splosh" and more children's content.

"The addition of HIT Entertainment and their popular preschool characters illustrates our continued commitment to bringing compelling and entertaining alternative programming to our exhibitor partners and moviegoers," said Darryl Schaffer, executive vp, exhibitor relations, Screenvision. "Through our partnership, we will provide affordable and trusted quality family entertainment that will resonate with audiences across the country."